La lecture en ligne est gratuite
Le téléchargement nécessite un accès à la bibliothèque YouScribe
Tout savoir sur nos offres
Télécharger Lire

[hal-00380701, v1] Comment on The Computer as the Artist's Alter Ego

De
3 pages
Author manuscript, published in "Leonardo 23, 4 (1990) 461-462"COMMENT ON "THE COMPUTER AS THE ARTIST'S ALTER EGO"Bernard BelLeonardo, vol. 23, no. 4. 1990, p. 461-462.It is my pleasure to comment on Otto Laske's paper (Leonardo 23,No. 1, 53-66, 1990). I had the opportunity to read severalpublished papers and preprints by Laske when preparing a one-daydiscussion on composition theory, which he recently was invitedto chair at the Laboratoire Musique et Infonnatique de Marseille(MIM).As a computer scientist, I have been involved in research workwith ethnomusicologists and contemporary musicians for a numberof years [1]. Both the analysis of improvisational schemata ofNorth Indian tabla players and the work with contemporarymusicians have convinced me that looking at 'frozen' data(scores) yields a very narrow understanding of musical systems.People (including musicians) who use computers are often stuckwith the belief that the world beyond computer representationsis very weakly related to the topic they are investigating.Taking just the opposite view, the romantic attitude stipulatesthat music (hence music making), like any 'high-level' humanactivity, cannot be captured in formal descriptions. Indeed,computer tools and methods available so far are still ininfancy; but to ignore their potential role would be the denialof a positivist attitude toward progress, which I believe hasalways been a characteristic of art music (be it in WesternEurope or, ...
Voir plus Voir moins

Vous aimerez aussi

1
COMMENT ON "THE COMPUTER AS THE ARTIST'S ALTER EGO"
Bernard Bel
Leonardo, vol. 23, no. 4.
1990, p. 461-462.
It is my pleasure to comment on Otto Laske's paper (Leonardo 23,
No. 1, 53-66, 1990). I had the opportunity to read several
published papers and preprints by Laske when preparing a one-day
discussion on composition theory, which he recently was invited
to chair at the
Laboratoire Musique et Infonnatique de Marseille
(MIM).
As a computer scientist, I have been involved in research work
with ethnomusicologists and contemporary musicians for a number
of years [1]. Both the analysis of improvisational schemata of
North Indian tabla players and the work with contemporary
musicians have convinced me that looking at 'frozen' data
(scores) yields a very narrow understanding of musical systems.
People (including musicians) who use computers are often stuck
with the belief that the world beyond computer representations
is very weakly related to the topic they are investigating.
Taking just the opposite view, the romantic attitude stipulates
that music (hence music making), like any 'high-level' human
activity, cannot be captured in formal descriptions. Indeed,
computer tools and methods available so far are still in
infancy; but to ignore their potential role would be the denial
of a positivist attitude toward progress, which I believe has
always been a characteristic of art music (be it in Western
Europe
or,
say,
in
seventeenth-century
Muslim
India).
A
scientific attitude consists of trying to delineate musical
reality as a whole [2] and then only making it clear which
aspects of that reality are left out when it is reduced to
formal descriptions — eventually, which formal aspects cannot be
imbedded in (operative) computer implementations.
Epistemologists are concerned with the question of why we should
at all need computers. The author makes it clear in the first
paragraph that computers are useful in enabling artists "to
distance themselves from conventional approaches". The statement
is a counterpoint of the prevailing opinion that computers are
no more than reliable storehouses of past experiences, to the
extent that a memory-based paradigm of creativity is often put
forward. As Stephen Smoliar observes, 'What Laske has overlooked
is
that
the
actual
behaviour
of
making
music
cannot
be
abstracted away from the behaviour of listening to music and
recalling what one has heard ... Ultimately, music is made so
that one may listen to it .... The truth is that all the mind
can do with music is compare it to past experiences" [31.
What Smoliar has overlooked is the central role played by the
axiologic
approach in music, architecture and other design
hal-00380701, version 1 - 4 May 2009
Author manuscript, published in "Leonardo 23, 4 (1990) 461-462"
2
activities since the fifteenth century in Europe. We use the
French word
axiologie
to designate "the larger set of a
composer's compositional prerequisites: aesthetical, technical,
philosophical, psychological, social, etc. In this way a
composer's axiology is a larger factual field than his/her
axiomatic, here taken to mean ... a set or a system of choices
deliberately decided upon by the composer" [4].
Axiology is the immaterial aspect of what Laske calls 'task
environment'. 'Subcognitive' activity, that is, mainly the
memory of previous design tasks and the composer's 'inner
listening',
occurs
at
some
stage
in
any
of
the
three
prototypical types of rule-based composition the author is
describing.
Although
subcognitive
activity
is
central
to
improvisational composition, it is also part of interpretative
composition: organizing a randomly generated string of symbols
requires
some
experience
in
dealing
with
abstract
representations of music, which in turn means a long-term
acquaintance with final products: sound and scores. Perhaps a
relative weakness of the paper is that it is not explicit toward
possible (and desirable) extensions of event-set generation
beyond the serial music system. A point we discussed with the
author is that an event list that is not generated on the basis
of some theory of 'regularity' (e.g. serial music) may well be
built on a descriptive base whose dimensions are qualitative or
quantitative, imbedding topological time (a partial ordering of
musical features). Resemblance/ dissemblance (multivalued)
functions may then be computed, functions used for summarizing a
structural description of the event universe as a Galois lattice
[51. Resemblance is an alternative to truth assignment in
musical 'semantics'. Any structure may then be viewed as
transformations that are reflected as paths on the lattice.
I am not surprised that Laske's approach relates somehow to a
method
used
for
designing
technical
objects.
Although
traditional artists are not victims of the formalist folklore
(the undesirable side effect of new approaches in Western
culture), I have witnessed (although rarely) Indian musicians
and dancers building a musical work or a ballet in a very
similar,
systematic
way.
Raja
Chatrapati
Singh's
spoken
introduction to the axiomatics of his 1985 drum solo composition
Indira
tal
was almost as long as the performance itself.
Therefore, I think there is some common sense grounding in the
rule-based design method. If not, we would not be able to
appreciate 'products' like the cathedral of Florence, classical
Western music and the Eiffel Tower.
In
conclusion,
Laske
is
concerned
with
epistemology
and
aesthetics, but he is among the few who are attempting to drag
them out of the realm of metaphysical speculations in order to
gain insights into the essence of musical activity in its
environment. Indeed, the computer-based environment described in
his paper is a typical one in which intermediate representations
of music (scores, whatever they may look like) play a central
hal-00380701, version 1 - 4 May 2009
3
role. In the MIM laboratory composers use the real-time digital
synthesizer SYTER along with acoustic instruments ('interaction'
is taken to mean either sound generation or real-time sound
sampling
and
processing,
or
both).
This
kind
of
set-up
reintroduces the concept of a 'musical gesture' and the need for
acquiring such gestures, in other words, the need for learning
how to
play
the instrument designed. Perhaps neural nets would
be good learning assistants. But this environment does not
invalidate the requirement of a conceptual approach to musical
structures.
Bernard Bel
Groupe Representation et Traitement des Connaissances (GRTC)
Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS)
31, ch.J. Aiguier
13402 Marseille Cedex 09
France
References
1. Bernard Bel, "Time and Musical Structures",
Interface
,
forthcoming; Jim Kippen and Bernard Bel, "Can the Computer Help
Resolve the Problem of Ethnographic Description?"
Anthropological Quarterly
62, No. 3, 131-144 (1989); and Jim
Kippen and Bernard Bel, "The Identification and Modelling of
Percussion 'Language', and the Emergence of Musical Concepts in
a Machine-Learning Experimental Set-Up",
Computers and the
Humanities
23, No. 3, 199-214 (1989).
2. Stephen W. Smoliar, 'Composition Theory and Memory', paper
presented at the second conference of Musical Structures and
Information Technology, Marseille, France, 1990 (pre-print).
3. Bernard Vecchione, "La Réalité musicale : Eléments
d'épistémologie musicologique", thèse de Doctorat d'Etat,
Université Paris VIII, 1985.
4. Bernard Vecchione, "Epistemologie, théorie et méthodologie de
la composition (I): Remarques préliminaires et schéma
méthodologique d'ensemble". In
Rapport 1989, Groupe "Ordre et
Chaos"
, Laboratoire Musique et Informatique de Marseille (MIM),
1990 (preprint), pp. 19-26.
5. See Vecchione [3].
hal-00380701, version 1 - 4 May 2009
Un pour Un
Permettre à tous d'accéder à la lecture
Pour chaque accès à la bibliothèque, YouScribe donne un accès à une personne dans le besoin